Most of the world doesn’t get around to watching documentaries, especially feature documentaries that end up in the theater.  Some people will try to watch stuff on Netflix, but don’t actually think of documentary filmmaking as something that can be genuinely moving.  I used to think that way until I saw a film called Searching for Sugarman.  It rocked my world beyond what I thought a documentary could do.

So, when I tell you that Life, Animated is the most inspiring and heartfelt thing you will see this year, I want you to take me seriously.  It is a beautiful story that is movingly documented.

From Academy Award® winning director Roger Ross Williams, Life, Animated is the inspirational story of Owen Suskind, a young man who was unable to speak as a child until he and his family discovered a unique way to communicate by immersing themselves in the world of classic Disney animated films. This emotional coming-of-age story follows Owen as he graduates to adulthood and takes his first steps toward independence.

It’s hard to review a documentary, mostly because there are no actors and the story to tell isn’t made to please the audience.  You can’t really critique someone on whether they are portraying themselves well but you can judge whether events or a subject matter are worthy of being documented.  This story is very worth documenting.

A documentary filmmaker is judged on whether their film is watchable and on how effective it is.  This film is both.

My best friend has an autistic son, so this subject matter is very dear to my heart.  Watching this family’s story unfold brought back memories of watching my friend go through something similar.  However, unlike many films that deal with people with disabilities, this one offers hope and optimism.

As I wrote at the beginning of the review, you probably aren’t the type of person to go see a documentary feature film in the theater.  I recommend that you change that and see this touching film.  It will make your life better as a result.

 

4.5